if indian buffets never make a comeback after the plague, i will personally drag donald trump to the hague— molly conger (@socialistdogmom) December 5, 2020
Back in the before times, I would go to an Indian lunch buffet about every two or three weeks. I would change up which restaurant I hit so as not to give them the impression that I was some sort of ravenous nemesis.
Last week, I had to get out of the neighborhood for a couple of hours because my car was parked in an 'alternate side parking' area, and the street I usually park on was closed off due to the ongoing replacement of gas mains in the county. From 1PM to 3PM, the best course of action was to leave town for a while. I decided to head over to Tuckahoe, New York to have lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Spice Village, an establishment in which I have dined many, many times.
Upon arrival, the proprietor offered me two choices- the first choice was to order something off the menu, the second was to order a 'tiffin buffet'. Intrigued, I decided to take the second option. The tiffin buffet turned out to be a large metal platter, in the center of which was a mound of rice, topped with some naan and papadum, surrounded by nine little metal bowls containing a variety of dishes, a sort of 'greatest hits' of the subcontinent's cuisines: chicken tikka masala, goat curry, yellow dal, saag paneer, tandoori chicken, sambar, poriyal, and a salad. It was a generous portion, and a good introduction to Indian cuisine for a first timer. It wasn't as satisfying as the full buffet, but it was an ingenious workaround by unfailingly gracious host. There's a reason I've been coming to this restaurant since it opened.
This being 2020, the story wouldn't be complete without a melancholy side note- the venerable Epstein's Dry Goods store is closing after 87 years of business. Online retail was the mortal blow, but the COVID-19 outbreak was the final, fatal stroke. I remember shopping for clothes here with my mom when I was a wee lad, and it was still the store I would go to if I wished to purchase a pair of jeans. I hope that Indian buffets make a comback after the pandemic runs its course, just as I hope that mom-and-pop stores make a comeback... but I'm not so optimistic about the latter.